The trip to Sydney was more serendipitous than I had dared to expect. Above all, it was a time to relax outside of the dull arena of boring Perth, for unlike Perth, Sydney might well be a real city, which exudes a real presence. My impressions are necessarily fleeting, as I only stayed east for four days. What surprised most was an opposite impression to that which I had expected…that Sydney types would automatically look and behave in a more stressed out fashion, due to their big city existence. Rather, it seemed to me, most Sydney types…and no doubt part of this was due to the holiday season timing of my stay…were superlatively self-possessed and relaxed. The underlying agitation that I sense in Perth characters, despite the surface smooth demeanour…the just below the surface troubled waters…were not there. It seems that I have made a mistake attributing a Perthian consciousness to a general “western” condition, rather than as being a product of the fragile and combustible condition of the more modest economy here. Perhaps a sort of rampant nihilism is not archetypically western, then. The looseness of the associations back here, the cut and change of others’ loyalties is probably a survival mechanism, held in common by those who experience constantly changing fortunes. The insubstantiality of the characters here reflected in the looseness of associations is a feature of putting one’s economic interests first in this economic context that offers few if any superior options.
So there I was a Perth nihilist in Sydney…and doubly so, for I had given up the only option, of conservatism, which could have economically saved me here, whilst shriveling my soul. Whilst on sojourn in big “S”, I was delighted to put temporarily aside all thoughts of my unwinnable economic situation back in Perth. In a matter of days, I managed to lose the residues of some accumulated social poisons. One advantage of empty ritual is that it offers a short reprieve from the sadomasochism of every day life…at least for the audience of, for example, a wedding. One does not need to fight or feed the psychic economy, which generates itself by backbiting. One can relax a little, endeavour to unwind.
We did play games which might have been conceded to be strange by aliens who visited from up above. The handbag weigh-in and the competition to collect clothes pegs by penalizing one of your fellow hens, for ignoring an arbitrarily imposed rule-set, were particularly deadly. The boys’ games were no better as they celebrated the last night of cock freedom. I did not manage to guess the entire contents of the bride’s handbag, just by the feel of what was in there, either. I have a feeling that jet lag intervened between my mental state and my overwhelming goals of accuracy, producing from my writing pen such rampant suggestions for bag contents as lumps of granite, an automatic weapon, and electric fuses.
The cock celebration night apparently went quite well, for Mike, with disappointment at the plasticization of sexuality and the absurdity of being back in an Okinawa-like military base setting both raining down upon his head. The sky opened up and stormed dramatically that night he walked back in a solitary fashion from the strip club.
Other highlights of the trip…besides the copious offers of champagne…were insights into the basic obstinacy of the one-time ideologically and culturally inculcated mindset of the white Rhodesian, which permeates the consciousness of those who in my family are not myself, and clouds their thinking, only without appealing to this designated name. Mike saw this superior state of being in the attitudinal posing on buck’s night and I saw it myself in the somehow subtle evocation of a brood mare in reference to my mother, during my father’s speech. (I am not sure whether he was implying that she has the spiritual quantum OR genetic material which he felt he lacked, but somehow he expressed a feeling that her own comparative lack of defects had appeared to have produced a hearty stock.)
Beyond these little facets of the experience, I received further little tokens of intrigue, when both sister and mother, after a while, remarked upon my dress so much as to excuse themselves for not having chosen a dress like the one I had. My mother: “That dress colour just doesn’t suit me. It suits you very well, but that colour does not suit me. I must wear purply pink, instead.” My sister: “I tried on a low-cut dress like that, but it didn’t look good on me. That style looks good on you, though.” The wedding celebration was an ideal time for family and friends to acknowledge those ever so slight, formal differences between us. I conceded the difference they had spotted gracefully. It must have taken quite some time for them to think how this stark difference had come about.